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A UK-based online money transfer company, WorldRemit, has set a target of reaching more Kenyans in diaspora after getting Sh3.2 billion funding from a venture fund to expand its geographical reach.
The firm becomes the latest global company targeting remittances to Kenya by riding on the success of mobile money transfer service M-Pesa to send cash directly to recipients.
WorldRemit says it facilitates more than 150,000 online cash remittances to Kenya every year.
“With this investment we are looking at expanding to new geographies, which will allow more Kenyans around the world to transfer from as little as one dollar back to Kenya quickly and securely, for low fees,” said Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO of World Remit.
WorldRemit says the funding from Accel Partners will see it raise the number of its employees to 200 from the current 50 by end of the year in the 35 countries it has a presence.
The firm is banking on the low fee it charges for remitting funds and low value to compete with traditional service providers such as Western Union and MoneyGram.
The increased interest in international money transfer business is motivated by the high value of remittance payments, with Sh103.2 billion ($1.2 billion) sent to Kenya in 2012, and which the providers are scrambling to get a piece of.
“We will become the first major online player which is dedicated to sending money online to Kenya,” he said.
The firm says, in Germany one can send as little as 10 euros to Kenya at a fee of 0.95 euros.
Senders can use WorldRemit’s online platform, also accessible via mobile phones and tablets, to make payments by debit or credit card, or via bank transfer.
Recipients can receive funds via bank deposit, direct transfer to mobile wallets, cash pickup or delivery, as well as airtime top-up in mobile phones.
Founded in 2009, WorldRemit has partnered with leading international banks, mobile operator hubs and mobile money transfer networks including M-Pesa.
In February, another UK company, Skrill, announced that it is in talks with Safaricom in a deal that it said will enable Kenyans in UK to send cash from abroad directly into an M-Pesa account, a market that Safaricom has targeted for years but has been delayed by concerns over stringent international regulations against money laundering and financing of terrorism.
– Business Daily